Agriculture of the Living: strength in unity

This first opus of the Rencontres Internationales of Agriculture of the Living was a unique event that presented a global, total approach: linking soil health, food quality, for "one health" for the Planet. More than 1,700 listeners attended the five days of these Meetings, including 65 % from farmers representing all sectors (organic, conventional, in transition, on small or large surfaces). A consensus: living soils and agro-ecology for agriculture is a positive response to the climate challenge, the loss of biodiversity and carbon storage.
A thousand-year-old heritage is lost in the face of regulations that neglect the world's microbial factory! "Marc-André Sélosse, professor at the Museum of Natural History in Paris
65 speakers from all over the world followed one another in front of more than 800 people during the four days of the event at the Cité Universitaire de Paris. 500 spectators attended the event online on the YouTube channel of Ver de Terre Production. The voice of agro-ecology was also brought to a closing conference at SIMA in front of 300 people on Sunday 24 February.
The evidence is clear, unambiguous and shared across borders: 95 % of agricultural soils lose organic matter and fertility, destocking carbon and no longer producing life. Thus, the entire capacity of agriculture to be able to produce, protect biodiversity and be resilient to climate change is disappearing.
Agriculture needs to change its practices to use and optimize solar energy " Stéphane Le Foll, former Minister of Agriculture, Mayor of Le Mans & Vice-President of the 4 for 1000 Initiative

Three pieces of good news in this ocean of "AgriBashing."

- It is the end of the Chapel Wars thanks to the common agronomic base already validated and in action. Whatever the path, the actors agree that the one of agroecology and living soils is the only one possible. The return of soil life and abundant fertility is the answer to the climate challenge and the challenge of carbon storage. Three measures are emblematic: covering the soil permanently, nourishing it and reintegrating the tree into the systems (agroforestry).
- Happy farmers, more and more of them every day, committed to the path of living soil. None of them want to turn back. Whether they work on small or large surfaces, organic, conventional or in transition, they are all committed to the path of living agriculture, storing carbon and producing biodiversity.
- It's time to value progress and to make people want to take action. As soon as ploughing stops and the soil becomes covered, fertility returns and the field of possibilities opens up: Doing without not only the famous glyphosate, but also and above all without all the chemical (fungicides, insecticides, fertilisers...) and mechanical crutches. It is by restoring the soil that all these crutches will be made useless. A strong appeal is made to research and to the authorities to speed up work on solutions that will make it possible to produce definitively by copying nature, without any disturbance.
To cope with climate change, agricultural soils that are not saturated with carbon have enormous storage potential. Every square metre of soil counts, every day that passes it must be covered and receive its ration of fresh matter. "Christian Abadie, a farmer in the Gers region of France

Measuring for progress

Outcome measures exist at all levels to show the benefits of this agro-ecology and will become widespread to identify and advance best practices. Those that combine benefits in terms of the environment, biodiversity, carbon sequestration, water filtration, increased income and the production of large quantities of healthy food.
The challenge is to move from an agricultural system to a living food system so that these agricultural practices are recognized by consumers" Jean-Philippe Quérard, President of Pour une Agriculture du Vivant (For a Living Agriculture).

Two examples at different points in the food chain. First, that of Redox (oxidation-reduction potential), developed on soils by Olivier Husson of CIRAD, shows that plants growing in living (reduced, and therefore non-oxidized) soils, with little disturbance, and with a lot of life and fertility, find their balance and are less sick. Another example is the nutritional value of food. The democratization of measurement tools will make it possible to bring everyone to agree on the links between agricultural practices and food quality. It is the American open-source Bionutrient approach that was presented during the Meetings.
For me, the main challenge is to know how to rebuild a soil... it involves deconstructing everything we have been taught, the trigger must be in the farmer" Baptiste Maître, agronomist of living soils

Moving forward together!

Being organic is good, being in soil conservation is commendable. But progressing together towards an agriculture that puts soil ecology and fertility back at the heart of production is an objective of progress to be achieved collectively.
Pour une Agriculture du Vivant, a movement born of the will of pioneering farmers, will continue to bring together in 2019 all the forces motivated to make the food and agricultural transition concrete, in conjunction with all the players in the agri-food chain. At the heart of the system: renewed confidence in common, shared and open-source agricultural reference systems.

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